1. Our crushes.
Everyone teaches us since we’re little girls that the best way to get someone that we might be into is to sit in the corner and stare at them with longing, waiting for the moment when they spontaneously decide to take up the initiative and make the move on us. It results in a lot of grown, adult women who only know how to secretly obsess over their object of affection in secrecy and hope that it’s all going to work itself out. Hell hath no fury like a woman whose crush isn’t getting online and Gchatting her at the time she wanted them to. It’s just unhealthy, and lets the whole arc of a non-existent relationship come and go when nothing has actually happened. We have to mourn the losses of people we never actually had in the first place.
2. What people think of our appearance.
It’s a lie, and it can’t be stopped. We think that a big part of what we’re worth is what we look like — even if we try not to, even if we don’t think we do, even if we can sometimes push it out of our minds. There are always going to be those moments where we feel like the ugliest girl in the room, and therefore the worst, because we imagine that what we look like is a direct reflection of the person who is inside of us. But this couldn’t be less true, and we know it deep down. It’s just an immediate response to walk in somewhere and wonder how someone is judging us on an invisible scale, even if we never consider it when we’re alone.
3. Our weight.
Our weight is not an automatic reflection of our health, or our desirability, or our happiness. It shouldn’t really mean that much, all things considered. Especially when we’re agonizing over two extra pounds or a little ripple of cellulite on our upper thighs. But the world won’t be happy until every woman is standing in front of the mirror, pinching little pieces of skin and wondering how she can become a better person by weighing a few ounces less.
4. How we’re doing in relation to other women.
It’s just an easy way to keep us all clawing at each other, instead of noticing how scarce we are at the top. What we are in comparison to another woman in our office — just because she is a woman — is far less important than where we all are as a group. Because as long as we’re struggling for the one upper management position that’s going to be filled by a woman, we’re not going to be indignant about the fact that we’re getting table scraps and taught to be catty over nothing. We’re in competition with every man in that office as well, even if we’re mostly in competition with ourselves.
5. What other women are doing.
One woman’s actions is not and never will be a reflection on or indictment of all of us as a group. There are billions of us, and treating ourselves as some kind of monolith is absurd. Every time we get outraged at another woman for stepping out of line or “making us look bad,” we hurt ourselves and give men more ammunition to separate us into “good girl” and “bad girl” categories.
6. “Having it all.”
As long as the men we work with or date or are friends with aren’t constantly pulling their hair out over whether or not they’ll be able to balance a fulfilling career with financial independence and raising a healthy family, we shouldn’t be either. The idea isn’t to turn us all into Superwomen, it’s to realize that responsibilities are shared amongst partners and groups and communities. We should be demanding of all people that they try to find a balance in life, instead of leaving so many of the outdated gender norms in place when it comes to how much time a father is expected to be a part of his family. Obsessing over having it all is ridiculous, because none of us will ever be four different people at once.